Airplane Currently Belongs To The University Of Nebraska Foundation
Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman (R) (pictured) has placed funds in his budget to purchase a Beechcraft Super King Air which currently belongs to the University of Nebraska Foundation. The money set aside for the plane is $2.5 million.
According to the budget document, the Nebraska Department of Aeronautics can buy the airplane at any time before the department's lease-purchase agreement with the foundation expires on June 30. The budget request includes $2.2 million for the actual aircraft purchase, plus additional funds for an avionics upgrade and insurance.
NebraskaWatchdog.org reports that Heineman said it is important for the state's chief executive to be able to reach all areas of the state in a timely fashion, and that the airplane is the best way to accomplish that goal. He said that it would be available to the university and "anybody in state government" that was willing to pay the cost of its operation for a given flight.
A state senator from Omaha, however, is skeptical. "The governor has a driver to drive him around," said Sen. Jeremy Nordquist, who has no party affiliation. He said the money should not be spent on an airplane while other important programs "crying for money."